Also, here is the link to the amazing slideshow put together by Lisa Richmond photography of the kids' performing at the retirement center and then at the school. Get out your tissues ladies (not to be sexist, but I doubt there are any men reading this). It's sweet and paints a perfect "picture" of the day.
More, More, More
On a rainy May morning Mrs. Hargon's 3rd/4th grade class, from Pinewood Elementary School in Pollock Pines, ventured down the hill to the El Dorado Care Center where they would be performing their musical, "Goin' Buggy". Months of practice had readied them for, what would be, their first performance. The anticipation of showing off all their hard work was fun, but what the kids took away from the day was so much more.
Mrs Hargon had been preparing the kids with what to expect at the care home: that some of the residents will not talk, some would talk a lot and that some would have difficulty hearing. They were encouraged to touch the hands of the people they meet, to speak clearly and a little louder than their "inside" voice which on any regular school day, amidst the busyness of class, comes naturally to them. It was explained that these individuals once too, were children, moms and dads and/or professionals and grandparents and that the only difference between us and them was that they had aged. They were asked to engage in conversation and ask questions and most importantly to listen to them.
As the show started, wheelchairs scurried down the hall in response to the music and the sounds of children's voices singing to come see what was going on in the recreation room. During the show, the students shined and were energized by the smiles, claps and shouts of "more, more, more" from their audience. It brought tears to this mom's eyes to watch the kids perform and perform well.
When the show ended and the costumes were neatly put away, the students re-entered the rec room to make clay crafts and talk with a few of the residents. More proud moments were observed as the kids thoughtfully and sincerely initiated conversations. One of our students described meeting a resident (Al) who had worked as a chief engineer building airplanes in the Air force during World War I. Toothless grins were witnessed on both sides of the age spectrum that day. Later, the kids shared how happy they felt to perform for the residents and that it made them feel good when one resident declared that it "made their day". The kids said it made them sad that some of the elderly don't have any family members to visit them and one student, Logan Rogers-3rd grader shared, "I'm really glad we got to come here because I don't have very many grandparents left and this is really cool."
Mrs. Hargon has had an amazing year with these kids. She's watched them surpass many of her expectations and we, as parents, couldn't have imagined such growth and accomplishment from our kids'. In the end, Mrs Hargon hopes that, through this experience, the kids will see how they can make a difference in someone else life, that they can gain and learn a lifetime of lessons from the people who have lived it out before them. She hopes that the residents would be encouraged and the kids' would become more compassionate and understanding of this frequently forgotten community. The kids got that ...and so much "more, more, more".
by Melinda Gray, a proud mom
May 18, 2011